2011-07-14 / Local & State

I Scream,You Scream We All Scream For Ice Cream

By Jean Snyder

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month (this year July 17) as National Ice Cream Day.

Now nearly 30 years later, Americans continue to scream for ice scream, not just in July, but virtually every month of the year.

The first references to ice cream in America and England appeared as early as 1700 and it was referred to as “iced cream.” It is believed that the first ice cream parlor in the United States opened in 1776 in New York City. However, according to published reports, the ice cream cone did not debut until 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair.

According to the International Dairy Foods Association, the U.S. ice cream industry generates more than $21 billion in annual sales and provides jobs for thousands of citizens. About 9 percent of all the milk produced by U.S. dairy farmers is used to produce ice cream, contributing significantly to the economic well-being of the nation’s dairy industry.

The association, on its Web site, claims the following facts about ice cream;

 About 1.52 billion gallons of ice cream, including both hard and soft-serve, was produced in 2009, a decrease of 1.2 percent over 2008. Representing approximately 26.2 percent of the entire frozen dairy product market, low-fat and nonfat ice cream production decreased by 0.2 percent in 2009.

 Based on ice cream consumption figures, the top-five individual flavors in terms of share of segment in the United States are vanilla (27.8 percent), chocolate (14.3 percent), strawberry (3.3 percent), chocolate chip (3.3 percent) and butter pecan (2.8 percent). Source: The NPD Group’s National Eating Trends In- Home Database  Ice cream and related frozen desserts are consumed by more than 90 percent of households in the United States. Source: Mintel  Production of the largest category, regular ice cream (60.5 percent), decreased by 1.1 percent in 2009. Production of water ice and “ other frozen dairy products” (which includes products such as sorbet) were the only categories that showed growth, according to Department of Agriculture statistics; water ice increased by 0.8 percent and other frozen dairy products increased by 2.8 percent over 2008. Together, they represent about 5 percent of frozen dairy products.

 California continued to lead the United States in output of frozen dairy desserts in 2009, at more than 169 million gallons, or approximately 11.1 percent of the U.S. total, an increase of 1.1 percent over 2008.

 Frozen dairy production follows a clear seasonal pattern. Summer is the unchallenged season for eating ice cream and other related products. Production kicks up in March and April to fill retail and food service pipelines in the late spring and early summer. June is the highest production month of the year, but production remains strong through August to satisfy summer demand. Production declines through the end of the year.

 More than 90 percent of American households purchase ice cream.

 The frozen dessert market is predominantly one of ice cream, comprising approximately 86.7 percent of total volume; the rest of the category includes frozen yogurt, water ices and sherbet. The USDA divides ice cream into two categories: “regular” and “lowfat/ nonfat;” as well as by hard and soft varieties. Regular ice cream represents 60.5 percent of the total hard and soft ice cream market, about 12 quarts per capita. Low-fat and nonfat ice cream represents 26.2 percent of the total hard and soft ice cream market, about 5.2 quarts per capita in 2009.

 With almost 27.8 percent of the market, vanilla remains the most popular flavor of ice cream eaten at home, according to a database of in-home eating trends. However, chocolate is growing in popularity, moving from 10.4 percent in popularity in 2008 to 14.3 percent in 2009.

 Novelties are separately packaged single servings of a frozen dessert – such as ice cream sandwiches, fudge sticks, fruit and juice bars – that may or may not contain dairy ingredients.

 Total U.S. exports of ice cream reached more than 59,500 metric tons in 2009 – worth about $63 million. Source: USDA/ Foreign Agricultural Service  In 2009, Mexico was the single largest market for U.S. frozen dessert exports, with an estimated value of $25.8 million. Canada was the number-two destination for U.S. frozen dessert exports, valued at $7.4 million. The Bahamas ($2.4 million), Trinidad and Tobago ($1.8 million) and Jamaica ($1.6 million) are third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Source: USDA/ Foreign Agricultural Service. In 2006, Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the United States in consumption of ice cream. Fifty-four million gallons were consumed in Pennsylvania that year. Three other states exceeded our consumption, and they were Indiana (87 million gallons), Texas (97 million gallons) and California (160 million gallons).

Other ice cream trivia includes the estimate that it takes 50 licks to polish off a single-scoop ice cream cone. More ice cream is consumed on Sundays that on any other day of the week, and ice cream is eaten most in July and August. Elvis Presley’s favorite ice cream was called chocolate milk shake. Children ages 2-12 and adults over age 45 consume the most ice cream and chocolate syrup is the most popular ice cream topping.

If this discussion of ice cream sends you screaming to the Berkey Creamery at Penn State University, then you should also know that Penn State is home to the largest university creamery in the nation. Each year approximately 4.5 million pounds of milk pass through the Creamery’s stainless-steel holding tanks. About half comes from a 225-cow herd at the university’s Dairy Production Research Center, and the rest is purchased from an independent milk producer. Choose from Peachy Paterno, Alumni Swirl, Chocolate Pretzel Crunch, Death by Chocolate and Berkey Brickle to name a few of the more than 30 flavors usually available. And if you go in January, you can take a seven-day course in ice cream that instructs in the production from “cow to cone.”

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